Pentax 645 Medium Format

Available At:
645

User Reviews (19)

Showing 1-10 of 19  
Emilio Gonzalez   Professional [Sep 03, 2013]
Strength:

Build like a camera should be build, Old School. I am a professional photographer and never liked 35mm cameras. Medium format is the only way to go. The Pentax 645 is my all-time favorite camera to use. I only use it for Black & White film and love the shape lens. I always develop my own film and love to see the large negatives. I use if for all types of photo work, landscapes, architecture, portrait, you name it this camera can do it. I have used if for night work on a tripod with a cable release, with great results.

Weakness:

Lots of people talk about weaknesses of the Pentax 645 however if you are a pro and love cameras there are no weaknesses about this camera. One just has to learn to work with what you got; that means taking your time, slowing down to think about your photograph.

Pentax designed it to fit in your hand perfectly. It’s a little heavy but It feels like a real fine crafted instrument.
I have 2 bodies with 4 120 backs and a 75mm & a 50mm lens.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
Axle   Expert [Apr 21, 2010]
Strength:

- Several good lenses available, and cheaper
- Price
- Accepts both 120 and 220 rolls, with the proper inserts
- Grip is standard
- You can still very easily get film for this camera

Weakness:

- Big, it's a heavy beast
- No full Manual Mode
- No Waist finder, some people may find this a weakness
- No Exposure Lock
- unable to change film mid roll, inserts rather than magazines.

If you're looking for a moderately priced medium format SLR, that's easy and fun to use, look no further than the Pentax 645. This beast of a camera is probably the one I have the most fun using.

For those looking to break into a Medium Format SLR, this is the camera for you, it's perfect for beginners, or even experts who want to get back into Medium format. Using the popular 6x4.5 format for the exposures, it maximizes the number of images per roll without loosing quality (16 shots per 120 roll, 32 per 220 roll). As mentioned, this camera accepts both types of medium format film, 120 and 220 with the proper film inserts.

When it comes to handling the 645 is great, the grip is standard as is the eye level finder (there isn't a waist level option for the 645 as the camera is one integrated unit), although there is a noticeable weight to the camera, it is still very easy to carry with you and shoot with, just get a better strap for it, the stock one hurts the neck after about an hour.

In a sentence....
The Pentax 645 is easy to use, perfect for beginners and experts looking for a well priced Medium Format SLR system.

Customer Service

None Required

Similar Products Used: Mamyia 645
Rolleiflex Planar 2.8F
Yashica-12
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Lthlwpn1979   Intermediate [Sep 28, 2005]
Strength:

Relativly cheap Rugged build, balanced Easy to learn I still drool over my Velvia 50 slides!

Weakness:

Film winding and DOF button a bit noisy. Can't change film midroll. Maintenance not the cheapest, take good care of it.

This camera was my first experience with meduim format and I must say it has been great. The controls are easy to learn, the camera has good balance, takes common size (AA) batteries, is rugged but is not as heavy as it looks. The manual Pentax lenses are faily cheap on the used market selling for $200-$400 each. Not bad considering the prices for new autofocus lenses. This camera DOES have mirror lockup. You have to take the lens off the camera (or camera off lens if I'm using my Pentacon 500mm) and move the mirror up by hand, then it will lock into place. The viewfinder is bright except for some macro shots. The depth-of-field preview is a bit noisy but is extreamly valuable. The film backs can't be changed midroll but I find I go through 15 shots fast enough that I don't need to. Since the image area for a 645 camera is 2.5x larger than 35mm, you could make a print well over 2' by 2' and have a crisp image. For the cost of a new 120 camera and one lens I have built a system with 5 lenses and a ringlight flash. Take that to the bank.

Customer Service

Sent to lab twice for maintenance (don't carry camera and soda at same time!) and the only problem I had was with merchant fibbing about turnaround time. This was the same merchant that has overcharged me and have its staff look down on me for using film, not very Christian Photo of them.

Similar Products Used: 55mm lens 75mm lens 120mm macro lens 200mm lens Pentacon 500mm lens (old, rugged, cheap) Sunpak DX-12R ringflash
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
bloody   Intermediate [Jan 06, 2005]
Strength:

- Price at used market - Built-in prism, side grip, and motorized film advance. - Dual tripod socket

Weakness:

- diopter get moved very easily (minor)

First of all, I never shoot digital (and I don't see I will in the coming 10 years...). The insert desing is just fine for me. I like the overall ergonomics of the camera. I choose this over the new Mamiya 645E for the following reasons: 1) side grip built-in (I don't need to pay extra) 2) motorized film advance (I just like it...) 3) Flash TTL (It's primitive, yet useful if needed) 4) Dual tripod socket (you don't need an L -bracket, just get two QR plates. I use RRS and Kirk plates). It doesn't not have MLU, and so far I don't see motion blur due to mirror vibration. Some complain the push-button control. I believe it's just something I get used to. In some sense, I try not to apply what I learned from my Canon EOS 3 manual to this camera. I simply learn the camera from scratch. TTL is just so accurate!! I use spot meter constantly for landscape and I find that the TTL meter is very reliable. Used lenses are avaialble at very reasonable price and they are all superb performers!!

Similar Products Used: Kiev 60 (not recommended unless you like to fix cameras by yourself...)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Phil Flashsync   Intermediate [May 23, 2004]
Strength:

Excellent build quality compared to new Mamiya 645e, even though the Pentax is 10+ years old. Used lenses are sharp and cheap. Reliable, not much heavier than a Nikon F5 and gives you 3 times the image size.

Weakness:

Push button shutter speed selection is a pain -- buttons too small. Lack of AE lock send you into manual all the time. Inserts instead of film backs, but at this price you can buy another body for the price of most hassy, Contax, or Mamamiya backs. Takes 6 AA battereies and battery holder is just a little tricky to use.

Now that DSLRs are here, medium format cameras are cheap on the used market. That's good for people like me who want to dabble with 645. For a hobbyist like myself, no better cheaper way into medium format SLR interchangeable lens photography. I knock off a couple of stars for the push buttons and the lack of an AE lock. But if not for the cheap used prices on this camera, I couldn't afford medium format SLR photography so it's a f5 stars for value.

Customer Service

None needed.

Similar Products Used: Mamiya 645. Ricohflex TLR.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Peter Arthur   Professional [Oct 21, 2003]
Strength:

Size, weight, lenses, meter, film format, cost.

Weakness:

No mid roll film change (so what)

Fantastic camera no buts about it. I have been shooting all over the world for almost 20 years and after owning this camera for less then a year I love it and have parked all the rest. Beautiful lenses, very sharp and dream outdoor shots on Velvia. Am selling several Nikon pieces to continue adding to the Pentax system. Had a top of the line instamatic die in the field in cold weather, the Pentax 645 on the other hand just kept going. Wonderful for just about every photo situation, compact and easy to handhold. 645 transparencies are gorgeous and digital cannot even remotely compare yet.

Customer Service

Haven't had a need.

Similar Products Used: Hassleblad (most all models), Rollei.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
gnnyman   Expert [Dec 21, 2002]
Strength:

Durable, easy to use, reliable

Weakness:

No spot metering available No fully changeable film cassettes ( only film holders can be changed )

An excellent camera for outdoor photography with a few week spots. Overall good optics at reasonable price. Easy to handle, not too heavy. Technically a bit outdated, but who cares - it does a good job. I own 5 lenses, 4 backs, 2 flashes and a lot of accessories.

Customer Service

never needed, I have this camera for about 5 years now and no service needed yet

Similar Products Used: Rollei 66, Hasselblad, Mamiya RB 67 and RZ67
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
allblood   Intermediate [Aug 09, 2002]
Strength:

- very handheldable. - TTL flash metering. - fast to operate (auto-film winding) - simple to operate - two tripod sockets for vertical and horizontal shots.

Weakness:

- Exposure compensation only in half stops. - balancing between ambient and flash light needs more steps and thinking...

This is a very good medium format camera, especially for the price. Though slightly "outdated" technology, it serves very well in every demanding shooting situation. When I said "outdated," I only refer to things like center-weighted metering and the user interface. I am actually okay with the arrow buttons operation. The metering is very accurate. Certainly it's very different from the moderm matrix/evaluate TTL metering, but it works very well. The ability of flash TTL metering is a big plus for this camera. Although I don't use it a lot, I can use it when I needed. What I like the most is the ability to handhold the camera very easily. I used TLR and Kiev before and handholding is a real nightmare... I use Pentax AF280T for casual shots. This small flash works very well. The flash exposure comfirmation in the viewfinder (blinks when flash ex is okay) is a real plus (I don't even have it in my EOS 3!). However, this feature does not work with my Metz 45CL-4. Also, A mode doesn't work with the metz either. Overall, I really like this camera and I am looking forward to 645NII.

Customer Service

Haven't tried yet.

Similar Products Used: Kiev 60 Mamiya C330 YashicaMat 124G
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
spain62   Intermediate [Sep 14, 2001]
Strength:

Ease of use. Great value for price compared to other medium format systems.

Weakness:

Slow sync speed of 1/60

My 2nd medium format camera. Love the 35mm ease of handling. Small enough for me to hand hold. Auto-rewind and auto film advance included in the base price. Aperature priority, shutter priority, manual and auto included. TTL balanced fill flash with Pentax dedicated flash attachments. The big, sharp negatives blows away the nest 35mm system every time. 16x20 enlargements have people in awe of the sharpness.

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used: Yashica Mat
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bruce Hedge   Professional [Jul 27, 2000]
Strength:

Auto shutter preference for aerial photog, 220 capability, fabulous lenses.Reliable.Non auto focus.

Weakness:

Flash synch 1/60, (I use a Mamiya C330 for weddings)

Rugged, pin-sharp lenses, will not buy the auto focus 645n,since aerial work is done at infinity

Customer Service

Never needed service in 2000+ rolls

Similar Products Used: Blad, Mamiya 645-both too expensive.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 19  

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